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As part of the Employer Nominated Scheme and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme review process the Government announced the implementation of a single list of occupations to provide a simpler and more consistent approach to sponsorship across the skill stream of visas without restricting the flexibility of programs such as the Labour Agreement and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme categories. The Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) is a single list of occupations which replaces the State/Territory Nominated (STATSOL), the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENSOL), Subclass 442 Occupational Trainee and the Subclass 457 Skilled Occupation Lists and determines occupations that applicants can nominate under these programs from 1 July 2012. Not only does this make it easier for the visa applicant to find the right list, it also means for some 457 visa holders who were not able to apply for an ENS visa under the old rules that they are now eligible for permanent resident under the Employer Nomination Scheme.
For example, the occupations of “Customer Service Manger” and “Restaurant Manager” were previously on the 457 list but not the ENS list under the old rules. Now both these occupations and many others appear on the new consolidated list. It is now possible to commence on a 457 with greater confidence with the knowledge that the same occupation with be on the ENS list when ready to apply for ENS at a later stage.
Furthermore, with this new CSOL List, current 457 visa holders whose nominated occupation was not on the ENS list prior to 30 Jun2 2012, now may very well find that their occupation is on the new list. This will provide a great opportunity to apply for permanent residency. Check with us at firstname.lastname@example.org is you are now eligible to apply for Permanent Residence
The new visa subclasses allow for family members to be included whilst the application is still underway. Previously, this arrangement was not possible. The visa had to be granted before the applicant would be offered the option of including members of their family unit with their visa. Not only was the option inconveniencing, it was also expensive as majority of the applicants would be students.
The life of English results, such as IELTS and OET, are now valid for 3 years from 1 July 2012.
This applies to all visa subclasses, not just the new General Skilled Subclasses. This relieves the pressure felt by applicants previously when the life of the IELTS and OET was only 2 year rule.
Under SkillSelect, international students who finished their studies more than 6 months ago can apply for skilled visas. Under previous arrangements they had to apply for a waiver of the work experience requirement.
Furthermore, studies undertaken in Australia need not be directly related to the nominated occupation as points may be attained for qualifications which are dissimilar to the occupation nominated in the one’s application.
Unlike previous lodgement procedures, the new skilled visa subclasses can only be lodged online with no options for paper applications.
Unlike a visa application, an Expression of Interest is not considered to be visa application unless an applicant has been invited to make an application and has gone ahead to make a valid application. Consequently, making an Expression of Interest will not give the outcome of a bridging visa.
If you are onshore (mainly international students) and considering making an application using this pathway, you should first consider all your options and know whether you are currently able to apply directly for skilled migration without first receiving an invitation. International students whose visas are expiring should consider other visa options allowing them to remain in Australia whilst the invitation process is being completed (such as graduate skilled visas, 457 visas or further student visas).
The occupation ceiling has been introduced to preclude the skilled migration program from being overrun by a constricted range of occupations. The way the ceiling would work is once the number of occupations is reached for a particular unit group within each year, no further invitations for skilled migration from that unit group will be issued by the Department.
The occupation ceiling applies to the following visa classes: independent (subclass 189), family sponsored (subclass 489) and State/Territory government nominated (subclass 190 and subclass 489) visas. Previously, the ceiling would apply to the subclasses in total, with no specific focus on occupations.
Factors which will affect the occupation ceiling are: job growth and replacement demand. The factors will be determined as part of the annual migration program settings each year. Each occupation unit group will have a distinctive ceiling which when reached in a program year, no further invitations will be issued in that program year to that occupation group.
Once the occupation ceiling is attained, invitations will then be passed on to other occupation groups, regardless of whether they are of lower scoring EOIs. The occupation ceiling does not apply to the Business Skills program (subclasses 188 and 132) or to any of the employer sponsored visa programs.
The pass mark to be eligible for the EOI – SkillSelect (Subclasses 189, 190 and 489) under the new points test as of 1 July 2012 is 60.
The pass mark for present General Skilled Migration (GSM) visas which are still open until 31 December 2012 will remain at 65. This category would be for those applicants coming through the student pathways.
The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) was adjusted by 4.2% from $49,330 to $51,400 on 1 July 2012. The TSMIT is indexed annually according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures to ensure that not only are skilled employees attracted to the workforce but also that fluctuations in salaries in the Australian market are felt across the board through the threshold.
The onshore migration program has been expanded to include new permanent employer-sponsored visas. These previously consisted of both onshore and offshore visas. The new program has collapsed the offshore and onshore visas to two new visa classes without any distinction between onshore and offshore.
The same now applies for people who apply for skilled migration visas, regardless of whether the application was made onshore or offshore.
The situation used to be that people who lodged offshore skilled applications had to depart Australia once the visa was ready to be approved. With the new arrangements, applicants no longer have to make unnecessary and expensive overseas journeys so that the visa may be granted.
Under the new skilled migration program, people who have had breaks in their occupations can still apply without having to demonstrate that they have been active in a skilled job for one year out of the last two years.
Such rules implicitly meant that certain subsets of the community such as people who took a career break were left out of the program until they had acquired enough experience back in the work force to qualify to lodge an application.
The new AustraliaMigrate website was launched today.
We wish all our clients and potential clients Seasons Greetings and Best Wishes for the Coming Year
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The 1st July is always a critical time in the Australian Immigration World.
You may have heard in the media that a lot of changes have been made to the 457 visa program.
Below you can find the changes that we thought might be most relevant for you as an employer or visa applicant.
Ongoing requirement to train Australian citizens and permanent resident workers
Even before the first of July 2013 businesses wishing to become standard business sponsors had to meet the training requirement by providing evidence of:
Businesses also had to commit to maintaining that level of expenditure in each fiscal year, for their term of approval as a sponsor Meeting the training benchmarks is now an ongoing and enforceable requirement rather than a commitment. In addition, sponsors will be obligated to maintain records relating to training. This includes start-up businesses (i.e. businesses trading for less than 12 months) who initially provide an auditable training plan. Previous sponsors must also demonstrate that they continued to meet the benchmarks during their sponsorship term when applying for a new sponsorship or varying the terms of their current sponsorship.
Demonstrating a genuine skill need
The regulations also have become stricter when it comes to granting a nomination.
A delegate must now be satisfied that the nominated position is genuine and may refuse the application if:
Immigration has also reintroduced a requirement that was previously in place.
Employers are now again restricted to sponsoring the number of subclass 457 workers that was approved in their sponsorship application over the term of their sponsorship. They can vary this number by applying for a variation to their sponsorship agreement. A sponsorship agreement will cease either at either when the number of nominations is reached or the time period expires (1, 3 or 6 years). Accredited sponsors will not be required to nominate the number of workers they intend to sponsor.
Duration of visa application
Previously the visa could be granted for all applicants up to four years. Now if your sponsor is a start-up business, then the visa will be granted for 12 months only.
DIAC has now also introduced a requirement of a formal skills assessment for the occupations Program and Project Administrator and Specialist Manager not elsewhere classified.
As an employer you will have to show that you will pay the nominee market salary rate.
The market salary assessment exemption threshold has now been increased to $250 000. This means that you will only be exempt from having to show evidence of market salary if the nominee receives a market salary that is $250,000 or higher.
Employees must now be employed by their sponsor in a direct ‘employee-employer’ relationship. This prohibits on-hire arrangements that fall outside approved Labour Agreements and prevents sponsors from engaging visa holders under arrangements that resemble independent contracting arrangements.
Sponsors will now be required to keep a record of written contracts of employment with primary sponsored persons.
Sponsors will be required to pay certain costs associated with becoming a sponsor and not pass these costs, in any form, onto a sponsored person
Occupation based exemptions to the English language requirement are removed
Whilst before the 1 July 2013 visa applicant for certain occupations did not have to provide evidence of their English language now all applicants have to provide an IELTS test unless they have:
Restricted terms of sponsorship for start-up businesses
There have also been changes to the duration of a sponsorship of a start up business. Previously the terms of sponsorship for start-up businesses were the same as standard business sponsors. The term of sponsorship approval for start-up businesses has been amended to an initial 12 months and all subclass 457 visa holders sponsored by start-up businesses are limited to an initial 12 month visa.
Requirement to commence employment within 90 days of arriving in Australia
It is now a part of condition 8107 that a Subclass 457 visa holder must commence work with their sponsor within 90 days of arriving in Australia.
For certain occupations, visa holders are required to obtain any mandatory registration, licence or membership in the state or territory where their position will be located. From now on Subclass 457 visa holders are required to have sought to obtain within 28 days any mandatory registration, licence or membership for their occupation in the state or territory they are employed.
The time period for Subclass 457 holders to find a new sponsor or to depart Australia, if they cease employment with their sponsoring employer is now 90 consecutive days
DIAC has also raised the fees for 457 visa applications and introduced charges for secondary applicants.
The new fees are as follows.
The rules and regulations for applying successfully for a 457 have become ever more complex and expensive. The team at AustraliaMigrate are dedicated experts in assisting both companies and individuals through the complexities of these applications to a successful outcome of employer sponsorship applications. Please don’t leave to chance…call Ian Singer (MARA 0001947) on (02) 9411 6000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to have an initial discussion about your chances of success. You will be presently surprised by our accessibility, expertise and costs.
On July 2012, the Permanent Skilled Migration under Employer Sponsorship went through many changes. The program was tightened up in specific areas such as English fluency, training requirements that companies have to provide and more defined criteria for exceptional circumstances such as for age and skill. Read more.
From 24th March 2012, students from 29 countries around the world will have their Australian visa assessment levels relaxed.
Immigration minister Chris Bowen made the announcement on February 15 in response to a report from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).
“Lowering the minimum evidentiary requirement for the grant of a student visa for selected countries and visa subclasses is expected to help around 10,500 prospective students.”
According to Bowen, the reduction in assessment levels for student migration visas would allow organisation involved in vocational education and training, postgraduate research and the popular series of English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS).
“For an industry that has been faced with lowered international involvement over several years, the measures could help to bring in more full-fee-paying enrolments, leading to an increase in funding.
Robinson, CEO of Universities Australia, said: “It really is a terrific outcome not just for the higher education sector but for the Australian economy more broadly because at a time we’re seeing manufacturing struggling, tourism struggling, both primarily because of the strong Australian dollar, it’s really important for those industries that are strong to be able to step up to offset some of those economic implications. “The international education sector is Australia’s third largest export industry, and over the 2010-11 period international higher education students spent an average of $38,000 each in this country on goods, services and fees.”
Another important reform initiative to streamline skilled migration will be the introduction of SkillSelect from 1 July 2012.
SkillSelect is a new skilled migrant selection register which has as its objective to capitalise on the point test system and will ensure the selection of the “best and brightest” skilled migrants from a pool of prospective migrants.
SkillSelect will be based on an electronic two-stage process whereby prospective migrants first submit an expression of interest and may subsequently be invited by the department to make a skilled migration visa application.
Currently, the department is formulating an implementation strategy which will lay out the mechanics of SkillSelect and will be submitted to the government in the coming months.
As there will be no assurance that an expression of interest will lead to an invitation by the Department of Immigration to lodge a skilled migration application, we encourage anyone who is eligible now under the current point test to apply for their visa as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
Australia Needs Migrants – Participation and Productivity
A frequent misconception about Australia’s migration program is that its primary effect on the economy is through population growth. It is often overlooked that skilled migrants positively impact on the other two Ps of economic growth: participation and productivity. As Australia feels the effects of an ageing population leading to a proportionally smaller labour force, skilled migrants to Australia show that they are far more likely to have university-level qualifications than the local population. They bring with them the experience of having lived and worked in different environments, conditions and circumstances.
As a consequence, skilled migrants are likely to be working in a full time job, and have excellent prospects for generating a high rate of pay in the Australian labour market.
Importantly, skilled migrants help establish international networks that foster trade, knowledge sharing, research and innovation. It is recognized by the Australian Government that the temporary and permanent skilled migration programs are delivering real benefits to Australia’s economic performance which can be found in skilled migrants’ participation rates and earnings, which are both above those of the Australian born population